Day 2 of Bioneers 2017 challenged us to think about the ways in which our systems — legal, infrastructural, societal — fail to serve each individual. Here are just some of our highlights.
Morning Session – Keynotes
Bioneers co-founder Kenny Ausubel opened our morning with a sharp, witty monologue that broke down some of the major issues of our time. An engaged, participatory audience cheered as Ausubel called for a world that shuns the destruction — still more to come — of “Typhoid Donald”’s reign, irresponsible businesses and industries, and societal structures designed to keep many individuals without rights, opportunities, or justice. Read Ausubel’s full address here.
Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, kept our energy high with an impassioned keynote about the power of storytelling, fearless journalism, and gathering for a cause. Being a truth-teller today, and historically, can be challenging — even dangerous. But, Goodman said, “You should not have to get a record when you put things on the record.” Her talk closed with call to all of us to take action in our current volatile political environment. About Trump, she said, “He is not the most powerful person on Earth. There is a force more powerful, and it is all of you.”
The strength of Heather McGhee’s keynote further fueled our desire to join forces with our neighbors to enact real change. McGhee, president of public-policy organization Demos, reminded us that our democracy is broken if it doesn’t listen to every voice. But, “if we upend the dynamics of power that plague us,” she said, “progress against one form of inequality will yield progress against others.” McGhee echoed our feelings of helplessness when she said, “I don’t’ know about you, but I need to find a way to love this country. We must emerge from this crisis in our republic with a new birth of freedom, and make it our task to finally emerge a demos: one people.”
We cheered along as candidates for the second annual Biomimicry Global Design Challenge “Ray of Hope” Prize presented their ingenious projects and ideas. Nextloop, “a hyper-local, biomimetic strategy to visibly network rainwater into closed-loop urban food production,” won 1st place and $100,000 from the Biomimicry Institute.
Cory Doctorow’s keynote took us to a different brain space than we’d visited so far this weekend. He spoke about the fight for a fair and open internet, weaving humor with important information about digital security and our rights as owners of digital products to be able to control how they function.
An incredible performance by Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company and passionate keynote by Chiricahua Apache Naelyn Pike reminded us that some of our wisest, most powerful leaders are our youth.
In an emotional and honest panel, we heard from California Indian culture bearers Valentin Lopez, Loren Bommelyn, Marshall McKay, and Corrina Gould about the distant and not-so-distant history of theft, rape, and murder of Indigenous Peoples in California. We learned that in the 1800s, California’s governor called for regular citizens to aid in the mass killing of all First Peoples, yet many of us — along with our children — have never learned about this extermination. “People tell me that the story of the Indian is too sad to tell,” said Lopez. We found comfort in having a safe space to discuss and think about the connection between these tragedies and our lives today.
An exciting workshop about our oceans brought together 3D ocean farmer and engineer Bren Smith and author of the book Sex in the Sea, Marah Hardt. Smith started his venture when he asked himself how we could keep fisherman working if we cut back on toxic overfishing practices. He and Hardt discussed the ways in which responsible ocean farming and a greater public awareness of the practices behind our seafood can lead to a more sustainable future for our oceans and fishing practices.
As this powerful day came to a close, we witnessed incredible emotions among our fellow attendees. We heard roars of laughter from the Indigenous Forum, and we walked among happily tearful friends as they left a moving session about leading with nature’s guidance in the women’s tent.
We’re amazed that there’s still another day to take in these experiences and stories. We’ll see you tomorrow.